Teenage girls 'posed for smiling selfies' after killing Angela Wrightson, court told as prosecution sums up

Angela Wrightson
Angela Wrightson

A pair of teenage girls accused of the murder of a 'lost soul' alcoholic posed for smiling selfies during a savage and sustained attack - before downloading music after leaving her for dead, a court heard.

The girls, now aged 14 and 15, were both complicit in the murder of frail and vulnerable Angela Wrightson at her Hartlepool home in December 2014, jurors at a murder trial in Leeds Crown Court were told today.

Giving his closing address to jurors, prosecutor Shaun Dodds were "in it together" and were "jointly responsible" for Ms Wrightson's death.

The victim's half-naked, bloodied body was found by her landlord in her home in Stephen Street on the morning of December 9, 2014.

The trial has heard she suffered in excess of 100 injuries - 80 to her head alone - after being set upon with a varriety of weapons as well as being kicked and punched.

Both defendants admit spending the previous evening at Ms Wrightson's home, but both deny her murder.

The older of the girls admits assaullting her and will plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The younger girl denies playing any part in the attack.

Mr Dodds, prosecuting, opening his summing up of the prosecution case, said: "The prosecution case is that Angela Wrightson was murdered and the two defendants are guilty of that murder.

"The prosecution case is they were in it together, were jointly responsible. This was a joint enterprise.

"However the violence began, it escalated and became more and more serious.

"Each played their part in it.

"Each intended Angela Wrightson suffer really serious physical harm at the very least."

Mr Dodds urged jurors to put 'emotions aside - including the age of the accused and the amount of injuries suffered by the victim - when they come to decide upon their verdict.

Mr Dodds said Ms Wrightson would now be 40 and had been described by friends as a lost soul, who was vulnerable, particularly when in drink.

Mr Dodds said both defendants had troubled upbringings but had lives which included structure and rules.

On the night of the attack, he said, the rules were cast aside.

Mr Dodds said: "When we look at what happened on that night, there were no rules.

"When they got in there (Ms Wrightson's house) there was nobody at all imposing any form of rules upon them."

Mr Dodds said the pair still referred to have eachother as friends and were in 'high spirits' when they were given a lift home from Ms Wrightson's house after the attack by police.

He said if the pair had not been involved in the attack together, why had one or both of them not attempted to distance themselves from the other.

He said they downloaded songs after leaving the house on the younger girl's phone.

Mr Dodds said: "They have just left someone lying injured or dead and they are playing songs."

He said the pair had entered Ms Wrightson's home at about 7.30pm on December 8.

By 9pm, Angela Wrightson displayed marks on her face in a picture taken by the younger girl which had not been present when she was captured on CCTV going to a shop to buy drink less than two hours earlier.

Mr Dodds told jurors the girls posed for pictures at 10.30pm, while drinking booze and smiling - with Ms Wrightson prone on the floor after already suffering an assault.

They were, he told jurors, 'out of control'.

Mr Dodds said: "They are smiling, there is drinking going on, they are giving the finger, they are dismissive.

"They are saying we can do what we like, that is the message they are sending.

"They are out of control - and Angela is lying injured at this point.

Mr Dodds told the court that evidence given by two of the younger girls' friends earlier in the case pointed towards her playing an active role in the frenzied assault.

He referred to one friend who had been on the phone with the girl at 10.40pm when she heard the defendant say to her co-accused 'go on (older girl) bray her, kill her'.

Mr Dodds said another pal who gave evidence in the case had recounted a conversation on the day after the attack in which the girl confided 'we've done her in'.

Mr Dodds said: "On the morning of December 9, this witness gave video evidence to police.

"She said in interview that her friend had told her 'we've done her in."

He referred to another friend who stated during evidence that the younger girl had told her she had kicked Ms Wrightson in the head and had continued the assault as she didn't wish to appear weak to her friend.